SEC

PCAOB Auditing Standard No. 3 Approved by SEC

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) announced that its Auditing Standard No. 3, Audit Documentation, has been approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. PCAOB Auditing Standard No. 3 establishes general requirements for documentation an auditor should prepare and retain in connection with engagements conducted pursuant to the standards of the PCAOB. The standard, which supersedes SAS No.

SEC Proposes to Delay Accelerated Filing

On August 24, 2004, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved issuance of a release proposing to temporarily postpone, for one year, the final phase-in period for acceleration of periodic report deadlines that apply to larger companies known as "accelerated filers." Under the proposal, the current deadline for accelerated filers would remain at 75 days for an additional year and at 40 days after quarter end for quarterly reports. The accelerated filing phase-in period would resume for reports filed for fiscal years ending on or after Dec.
Community News

SEC Bans Former HealthSouth Exec From Practicing Accounting

The Securities and Exchange Commission has banned a former HealthSouth executive from working as an accountant at a public company.The SEC's Monday action against Kenneth K. Livesay, assistant comptroller at HealthSouth from 1989 to 1999, comes as Livesay faces accusations of ordering employees to record false assets for the Birmingham-based company, the Washington Post reported.Livesay accepted the ban without admitting or denying wrongdoing, the SEC said.

Royal Dutch, Shell to Pay Millions to Settle SEC Fraud Case

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today announced settlement of an enforcement action against foreign-based oil companies Royal Dutch Petroleum Company and The "Shell" Transport and Trading Company, p.l.c. (together, Shell), in connection with their overstatement of 4.47 billion barrels of previously reported proved hydrocarbon reserves.
A&A

Investor Scam; Con Artists Snaring Victims Across the Country

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this week issued an investor alert designed to warn Americans about a new scam sweeping the country-answering machine "wrong number" stock touts. Voice mail messages are appearing on home answering machines from coast to coast saying that the stock price of certain small, thinly traded companies will soon shoot up.
Tax

Janus Finalizes $226M Settlement on Fraud Charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced on Wednesday a settled enforcement action against Janus Capital Management LLC (JCM), for entering into undisclosed market timing agreements with certain investors. The Commission ordered JCM to pay disgorgement of $50 million and civil penalties of $50 million, for a total payment of $100 million. JCM also consented to a cease-and-desist order and a censure, and agreed to undertake certain compliance and mutual-fund governance reforms.Stephen M.
Community News

Auditor Turnover: SEC Seeks 'The Rest of the Story'

With the big increase in the number of breakups between corporations and their auditors, the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking for the reasons why.By the end of last month, more than 900 businesses said goodbye to their auditors - about the same number as in all 12 months of the previous year.

SEC May Give Companies a Break from New Accounting Rules

The top accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission is worried that companies are overwhelmed with the frantic pace of implementing new accounting requirements.So Donald Nicolaisen told a group of educators last week that he supports delaying some rules stemming from the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Washington Post reported.“During the commission's Sarbanes-Oxley rulemaking initiatives, we received many comments focusing on the increased burden that the proposed rules would place on smaller-sized public companies,” Nicolaisen told the American Accounting Association.

Report Recommends Modifying Proposed Regs. to Address Pension Plan Concerns

Mutual fund investments represent more than 20 percent of Americans’ pension plan assets. Since late 2003, two abusive trading practices in mutual funds have come to light. Late trading allowed some investors to illegally place orders for funds after the close of trading. Market timing allowed some investors to take advantage of temporary disparities between the value of a fund and the value of its underlying assets despite stated policies against such trading.
Tax

Bristol-Myers to Pay $150M to Settle Accounting Fraud Charges

The SEC announced this week that it has filed an enforcement action against Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Community News

Grant Thornton Expected to Reach Settlement with SEC

Grant Thornton LLP plans to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that the firm aided and abetted securities fraud by paying $1.5 million and training employees in fraud detection.According to the Wall Street Journal, the settlement is expected to be unveiled today. Grant Thornton will agree to institute a new fraud training program for its entire staff at a cost of at least $1 million.

Court Sides With SEC in Keeping Ex-Chairman’s Records Private

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission was right to deny a media group access to former chairman Harvey Pitt’s telephone logs, message slips and appointment calendars.The U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia determined that those records were personal and not subject to the Freedom of Information Act, the Associated Press reported. New York media company Bloomberg L.P.
Tax

Halliburton to Pay $7.5 Million to Settle SEC Charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today enforcement proceedings against Halliburton Co., its former chief financial officer, Gary V. Morris, and its former controller, Robert C. Muchmore, Jr. The Commission's actions are in response to Halliburton's failure to disclose a 1998 change to its accounting practice.
Tax

Settlement Reached with Two Firms For Securities Violation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the New York Stock Exchange today announced the initiation and settlement of enforcement actions against two NYSE specialist firms. The firms will pay a total of $5.2 million in penalties and disgorgement, consisting of $1.7 million in civil money penalties and $3.5 million in disgorgement, and implement steps to improve their compliance procedures and systems. The two settling specialist firms are SIG Specialists, Inc. and Performance Specialist Group LLC.
Tax

Whistle-Blower Leads Increase Sharply During 2004

A sharp increase in whistle-blower complaints is on the rise according to the SEC, forensic accountants and corporate lawyers, USA Today reported. "There is increased whistle-blowing activity," said Harvey Kelly, a forensic accountant who heads fraud investigation at law firm Alix Partners.
Community News

SEC Considers Extending 60-Day Reporting Rule

If companies comply with a new rule on internal controls, it will make it hard for them to speed up their year-end reporting as the SEC had mandated, the Wall Street Journal reported.As a result the SEC is considering a one-year extension for public companies complying with the new rule that makes annual reports due 60 days after their year-end rather than 75 days as it was in the past.Public companies and large accounting firms are in agreement that more time is needed if they are also going to comply with the new Sarbanes-Oxley based rule that requires improved internal controls over f
Community News

Spitzer, Grasso Continue to Haggle in Pay Case

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is seeking to have his compensation lawsuit against Richard Grasso remanded down to state court from federal court. Grasso is also fighting back this week, denying Spitzer’s charges and angling to keep the $200 million compensation package that forced his ouster as chairman of the New York Stock Exchange last year.The Wall Street Journal reported that Spitzer filed documents Wednesday in U.S.
Technology

SEC Announces Initiative to Test Tagged Financial Data

The U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is assessing the benefits of tagged data and its potential for improving the timeliness and accuracy of financial disclosure and analysis of Commission filings.The Commission will seek public comment on alternative methods and the costs and benefits associated with tagged data. In addition, the Commission will consider a staff proposal to accept voluntary supplemental filings of financial data using eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).

Financial Planners Sue SEC Over Lax Standards for Stock Brokers

The largest professional association for financial planners sued the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday to force stock brokers to be held to the same standards as financial planners.The Financial Planning Association (FPA) contends that stock brokers who act as financial planners should not be exempt from the fiduciary duties and disclosure rules required by the federal Investment Advisers Act, TheStreet.com reported."The SEC has given brokers a wholesale exemption from the Advisers Act that Congress never intended," said Barbara Roper of the Consumer Federation of America, which
A&A

SEC Votes to Propose Requirements on Hedge Fund Advisers

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted this week to publish for comment proposed new Rule 203(b)(3)-2 that would require hedge fund advisers to register with the Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

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